Four European Universities have completed the growth and successful transplant of a human trachea created with human stem cells. Researchers took the needed part of a cadaver trachea and stripped out all the cells that might cause transplant rejection. The remaining material acted as a growth template for stem cells taken from the recipient’s bone marrow and added to the recipient trachea cells. The regenerated trachea was implanted and doctors report that, after only a few days, the transplant is doing remarkably well.
The reported procedure will certainly re-ignite Washington’s debate about stem cell research and is sure to focus the discussions squarely on the issue of embryonic stem cells. While lawmakers will point to this as justification for renewed aggressive efforts in stem cell therapy, expect right-to-life advocates to point out that the stem cells used were from the patient and no embryonic stem cells were needed.